In Class Research

April 13, 2016 at 2:50 pm

Senior Takes Top Prize at OHIO Physics Conference

Physics major Max Camp

Physics major Max Camp

By Jean Andrews
Physics & Astronomy

Max Camp ’16 B.S., a senior in Physics & Astronomy received the “Best Presentation” award at the 2016 Society of Physics research conference for his presentation on particle physics and the search for a pentaquark, a new kind of sub-atomic particle.

A pentaquark is made from four quarks and one antiquark. Most particles that are affected by the strong nuclear force are either made of three quarks (like the proton or the neutron) or a quark-antiquark pair (like the pi-meson). The pentaquark is a composite of the two, which is an entirely new class of particle.

“This is why research like this is important,” Camp explains. “Why some combinations of quarks exist and others don’t exist is determined by the equations of the strong force.  To learn about that force, we need to search for new types of particles.”

Camp has spent the last three summers as a physics research intern supervised by Dr. Kenneth Hicks, Professor of Physics. Camp has worked for almost two years on the pentaquark project, which Hicks likens in scale to doing a Master of Science thesis. They expect to submit the work to the professional journal Physical Review C with Camp as first author.

Camp’s research is conducted at the Edwards Accelerator Lab with the exception of last summer, when he had the opportunity to travel to Italy for an internship experience at the Istituto Nazionalle Fisica Nucleare in Genoato, where he worked on a separate project related to the assembly of a calorimeter. The calorimeter has been transported for use in an international collaboration at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, VA.

Drs. David Tees and Ryan Chornock were looking for a number of things as judges of the event.

“Max Camp’s talk stood out among a very solid group of presentations,” Tees says, “because of the breadth of what he’d done during two years of research, as well as his ability to explain the work and its background, especially during the question period.”

“Deciding to do research was the best decision I made as a science major,” Camp notes. “This was my third time presenting at the conference, so it was nice to win after so much practice!”

L ot R: Dr. David Tees, Sara Sand, Andrew Dewald, Jacob Williamson, Ryan Goetz, Max Camp, and Dr. Ryan Chornock. Tees and Chornock served as judges.

L ot R: Dr. David Tees, Sara Sand, Andrew Dewald, Jacob Williamson, Ryan Goetz, Max Camp, and Dr. Ryan Chornock. Tees and Chornock served as judges.

Two Honorable Mentions and International Research Experiences

Two Honors Tutorial College undergraduates received honorable mention for their presentations at the conference. Sara Sand ’17, HTC Engineering Physics, presented: “Investigation of Electrical Properties of Titanium Dioxide Thin Films and Nanowires.” She shared details about her research last summer at the University of Konstanz, Germany, where she served as an undergraduate intern with the DAAD, a German academic exchange agency.

Andrew Dewald ’16, HTC Physics and HTC Chemistry, presented his honors thesis topic: “Semi-Classical Analysis of One-Dimensional Power – Plus Inverse-Power-Law Potentials.” Dewald also spent last summer in Europe as an intern with DAAD, where he learned about plasma physics at The Max Planck Institute in Greifswald, Germany.

Other conference presenters are Astrophysics majors Ryan Goetz: “Measuring the Mass of Galaxy Clusters with Weak Gravitational Lensing” and Jacob Williamson: “Burning Out Swiftly: SN 2005da and its Curious Nature.” Goetz and Williamson both received research internships last summer from the department.

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